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What does the UK public want from academic science communication?

Redfern, J and Illingworth, S and Verran, J (2016) What does the UK public want from academic science communication? F1000Res, 5. ISSN 2046-1402

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Abstract

The overall aim of public academic science communication is to engage a non-scientist with a particular field of science and/or research topic, often driven by the expertise of the academic. An e-survey was designed to provide insight into respondent's current and future engagement with science communication activities. Respondents provided a wide range of ideas and concerns as to the 'common practice' of academic science communication, and whilst they support some of these popular approaches (such as open-door events and science festivals), there are alternatives that may enable wider engagement. Suggestions of internet-based approaches and digital media were strongly encouraged, and although respondents found merits in methods such as science festivals, limitations such as geography, time and topic of interest were a barrier to engagement for some. Academics and scientists need to think carefully about how they plan their science communication activities and carry out evaluations, including considering the point of view of the public, as although defaulting to hands-on open door events at their university may seem like the expected standard, it may not be the best way to reach the intended audience.

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